A table!

Another clutch of New Friends will gather around the table this Saturday.  Welcome! Welcome!

The ice man cometh.

Le Marchand de Coquillages.
Marseille. 1954.

Talk. Talk. Talk.

Guests at the New Friends Table were true to their word last night - big conversations, big appetites all round.  Happy times.

Don't be shy.

The New Friends Table welcomes everyone.
Life's a bowl of soup!

Mellow fruitfulness.


Eating undercover.

Secret suppers, clandestine lunches, Autumn is a coming in.

Harvest home.

Picking grapes, bottling tomatoes, and so many New Friends 
joining us to enjoy this season of plenty.

You're lovely

Just the way you looked tonight.

Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow,
Just thinking of you,
And the way you looked tonight.

New Friends from France, Belgium, Brazil, Australia and America sat down at the New Friends Table last night. Such fun.

There's an empty chair.

We have unexpected last minute availability at the New Friends Table this Saturday so if you are in Paris and want to pull up a chair you will be warmly welcomed. newfriendstable@gmail.com

L'Ame du Vin - The Soul of Wine

Today is National Poetry Day in the UK. 
Baudelaire's poem about the soul of wine is something we can all ponder when knocking back the red stuff.

L'Ame du Vin

Un soir, l'âme du vin chantait dans les bouteilles:
Homme, vers toi je pousse, ô cher déshérité,
Sous ma prison de verre et mes cires vermeilles,
Un chant plein de lumière et de fraternité!

Je sais combien il faut, sur la colline en flamme,
De peine, de sueur et de soleil cuisant
Pour engendrer ma vie et pour me donner l'âme;
Mais je ne serai point ingrat ni malfaisant,

Car j'éprouve une joie immense quand je tombe
Dans le gosier d'un homme usé par ses travaux,
Et sa chaude poitrine est une douce tombe
Où je me plais bien mieux que dans mes froids caveaux.

Entends-tu retentir les refrains des dimanches
Et l'espoir qui gazouille en mon sein palpitant?
Les coudes sur la table et retroussant tes manches,
Tu me glorifieras et tu seras content;

J'allumerai les yeux de ta femme ravie;
À ton fils je rendrai sa force et ses couleurs
Et serai pour ce frêle athlète de la vie
L'huile qui raffermit les muscles des lutteurs.

En toi je tomberai, végétale ambroisie,
Grain précieux jeté par l'éternel Semeur,
Pour que de notre amour naisse la poésie
Qui jaillira vers Dieu comme une rare fleur!»

Charles Baudelaire

The Soul of Wine

One night, the soul of wine was singing in the flask:
"O man, dear disinherited! to you I sing
This song full of light and of brotherhood
From my prison of glass with its scarlet wax seals.
I know the cost in pain, in sweat,
And in burning sunlight on the blazing hillside,
Of creating my life, of giving me a soul:
I shall not be ungrateful or malevolent,

For I feel a boundless joy when I flow
Down the throat of a man worn out by his labor;
His warm breast is a pleasant tomb
Where I'm much happier than in my cold cellar.

Do you hear the choruses resounding on Sunday
And the hopes that warble in my fluttering breast?
With sleeves rolled up, elbows on the table,
You will glorify me and be content;

I shall light up the eyes of your enraptured wife,
And give back to your son his strength and his color;
I shall be for that frail athlete of life
The oil that hardens a wrestler's muscles.

Vegetal ambrosia, precious grain scattered
By the eternal Sower, I shall descend in you
So that from our love there will be born poetry,
Which will spring up toward God like a rare flower!"

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

We're waiting!

Your new friends are looking forward to meeting you. 
The next dinner at the New Friends Table is this Saturday.

Eat up.

New research suggests that people eat less when they eat with men. 
This is never true at the New Friends Table where everyone clears their plates.

International relations.

Secret dinner, red wine, hats and flags.